Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Terry Eagleton on terrorism.

From this weeks New Statesman:

Ever since the London bombings, the question has never ceased to be asked. How could a group of well-educated, comfortably middle-class men perpetrate such atrocities? How could such fanaticism flourish in peaceful suburbia?

Perhaps we will never know what drove them to destroy Fallujah, set up torture camps and leave London so vulnerable to attack. What turned a nice young Harvard-educated failed oil executive into a child-killer? Was it envy of the east, one of the mighty birthplaces of science and medicine, in contrast to the barbarism of Burger King? Tony Blair seemed to have everything to live for - the prospect of a peerage, a wife with an enormous salary - and threw it all away. Did he have these hateful ideas hammered into him at Fettes or Oxford?

There are, to be sure, plenty of explanations to hand: oil, Israel, failing US hegemony, Oedipal vengeance and so on. But plenty of people run out of oil without feeling the need to attach electrodes to other people's genitals. Maybe giving explanations is just a devious way of seeking excuses. Perhaps we should simply accept that such bestial conduct is beyond the comprehension of civilised men and women, and concentrate instead on resisting this violence with all our might. Nobody wants to deport the entire cabinet. Even so, we have to ask some tough questions about whether their liberty is really compatible with our security.

The esteemed Marxist literary critic also has a more philosophical article on 'The Roots of Terror' in this month's Red Pepper.

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